iSixSigma

Patrick Waddick

Forum Replies Created

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #71551

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I agree with Jim. Keep the title and give your elevator speech. Don’t short-change it with another title or combination of titles that amounts to something more mediocre. Chances are you’ll command much more attention by explaining what a Black belt does rather than a project manager/quality engineer/specialist and the like.

    0
    #69990

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I would concur that some of the GE BBs and MBBs may have left the company simply because they wanted to seize an opportunity elsewhere where they could stand out in a crowd and test their skills on a company just starting out on Six Sigma.GE probably knows the main reasons why employees leave the company. They conduct ongoing research on that issue. But GE will always seek to hire the best and brightest talent in the world to help them sustain their advantage in the markets they serve. So, at the very least, what GE has is a revolving door of talented individuals coming in and out of the company. But make no mistake about it, they know where the break even point is on the investments they make with their BBs and MBBs. And the net income just keeps rolling in.Life was indeed good at GE. Things were neat, orderly, and logical. You knew where you fit in and you were given a permanent license to challenge the status quo to make things dramatically better. As stated earlier in posts, Six Sigma worked at GE because they spent years developing the infrastructure and culture that would support a Six Sigma initiative. The most valuable tools you learned as a BB or MBB at GE were on the Change Acceleration Process (Change Management). No Black Belt, in my opinion, can succeed and consistently deliver results without it. Understanding the theory behind Six Sigma is not enough. Passing a certification test is also not enough. They are helpful, but the truth is that there are plenty of resistors, obstacles, and roadblocks out there that can derail a Six Sigma project at any given moment. You have to be prepared to remove those barriers to success and energize a team. That can’t be taught in a textbook alone.

    0
    #69833

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Brooke,I echo these thoughts. Document what you did, learned, and applied and you should be able to sell yourself. Good luck!

    0
    #69832

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    We live in a free market economy and there are many consultants out there trying to capitalize on Six Sigma. They deserve every penny they get, BUT we as consumers have a few caveat emptors. Not all consultants have proven track records, some of the rekowned training providers have had some poor deployments, and a lot of them insist that you buy their software as well – which typically has high startup costs and may have additional annual maintenance costs to boot. Six Sigma is truly an investment – in education and in your people. Any company that wishes to pursue Six Sigma has got to answer a few questions before they hire a consultant: How many employees do I want to be trained on Six Sigma? All of them, 10%, only a select few? Ideally you should have the Champions, Execs, BBs and MBBs get trained from QUALIFIED providers, obtain ownership of the material and tailor it to your business, then follow up with in-house GB training – conducted by QUALIFIED BBs and MBBs – for all employees who touch important processes. There is a cost attached to that, but if you want the best bang for the buck, then you select the consultants who offer training not only on Six Sigma, but Change Management (GE calls it the Change Acceleration Process) as well OR provide that type of training in-house by QUALIFIED people. A BB has to learn how to sell ideas to management, lead and energize an improvement team, handle conflicts, etc. Most of the consultants out there do not supply this kind of training on Change Management. So what you are left with is knowledge of the theories and applications of Six Sigma, but very little in the way of infrastructure that will help support and sustain the initiative.

    0
    #69617

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I realize that there are a lot of organizations out there that claim to be “implementing” and “practicing” Six Sigma when in fact they really aren’t. Six Sigma should be the way you run your business, if your company is serious about it. I don’t know where your company fits in, but my experience has been that the relationship between the MBB and BB cannot be overemphasized. The MBB should be available to answer questions as an expert resource, provide guidance, and support (to many teams and projects). The MBB should be in the mode of mentoring, teaching, and coaching. They should be approachable and willing and able to assist BBs when their help is needed. The MBB should have their role clearly defined in the charter of your Six Sigma project. That role should be contracted out from the inception of the project. The minute the MBB breaks the contract – by neglecting to make themselves available, by not offering assistance, etc. – then your project may risk possible failure or produce suboptimal results. In that case, you’ve got to do what you can to avoid failure and preserve the integrity of the project. Perhaps you could seek out another MBB who will make themselves available, or consult with the Champion. You should bring to the attention of management any roadblocks that surface on the BB project, so that they can be overcome at the earliest possible moment.I hope this is a start for you.

    0
    #69096

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Regarding the certification involvement, I would tend to believe that a third party should never be relied upon to assess, and certify, whether a company has “become” Six Sigma. The company itself should know where they stand on reaching Six Sigma in all its businesses, processes, products and services. The company’s customer base should always be in a position to “feel” whether or not the company is producing Six Sigma output and whether or not the company is getting better at satisfying their needs.As posted many times before in this forum, Six Sigma is an ongoing endeavor. At one time, reports came out that CEO Jack Welch wanted all of GE’s businesses to be operating at Six Sigma by the turn of the millenium. It was highly unlikely that this would ever happen in the mathematical sense that every business, process, product and service was delivered and executed at less than 3.4 DPMO. But who can argue with setting that as a goal? If a snapshot was taken of GE prior to its Six Sigma deployment, it might have revealed that only one or two of its businesses were near 6.0 Sigma and most of them hovering around the range of 3.0 to 4.5 Sigma. But after a few years of utilizing Six Sigma to further its interests, today a study might reveal that GE is operating at 4.5 Sigma or above on virtually all of its businesses, and that GE is now using more of DFSS to “get over the wall” toward 6.0 Sigma. I’m fairly certain that they’re still not at 6.0 Sigma in all cases, but I’m very sure that they have proven to all interested parties that they are a “Six Sigma company”, taken to mean that they are continually improving on their journey toward 6.0 Sigma and above.-Patrick

    0
    #66155

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    This is just my opinion, but I would recommmend you start by talking to some of General Electric’s Quality Leaders – they are the ones who head up the Six Sigma quality departments (they manage the BBs, MBBs, and Quality Analysts) at GE’s businesses. Some of them may have an opinion on which consultants out there will be worth the investment. But beyond that they should be able to give you some valuable insight as to how a Six Sigma implementation and deployment should go. It may take you awhile to find the right person who is willing to talk, but keep trying.

    I cannot speak for Motorola or Allied Signal or any other Six Sigma company or consultant, but I know what company has really put Six Sigma on the map and has had enormous success with it – GE. It is true that GE succeeded with Six Sigma because of Jack Welch. Welch is the model for any CEO to follow. They also succeeded because Welch insisted on hiring and retaining the best and brightest managers in the country to run GE’s businesses and help to drive and sustain the Six Sigma initiative. When I interviewed there, one of the first questions I asked was “What will happen to Six Sigma when Welch retires?” I was promptly told by a Quality Leader that “It will keep going because there is so much net income that pours into the bottom line due to Six Sigma.” It is true. Some of GE’s former top executives who were in line to succeed Welch but were passed over have left GE and are now implementing Six Sigma at other companies (3M for example). They know there is so much to gain from Six Sigma. They also know what is involved in implementing, deploying and sustaining Six Sigma.

    There is a quote in the latest GE Annual Report which says that the next successor to Jeffrey Immelt (Welch’s successor) twenty years down the road will likely be a BB or a MBB currently working on Six Sigma projects. That should tell you how valuable GE regards Six Sigma.

    So I would recommend that part of the effort to search for a good provider of Six Sigma (consultant or company) should include some talks with GE. Hope this helps in some way.

    0
    #66084

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    TQM = Total Quality Management
    DFMA = Design for Manufacture and Assembly
    QFD = Quality Function Deployment
    GD&T = Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

    Hope this helps

    0
    #65936

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    The book entitled “Jack Welch and the GE Way” describes the Work-Out approach that Jack Welch used at GE prior to the unveiling of Six Sigma. The Work-Out enabled Welch to create a flat, boundaryless society in which decision-making could be transferred to front-line workers who best understood the processes.

    If your management does not have such an outlet, then I would suggest you use whatever vehicle (suggestion box or face-to-face visits) you can to get improvement ideas (cost-cutting or revenue-generating) to management ASAP. A good process management system should include an outlet where improvement ideas are taken seriously and dealt with promptly. If you do not have any vehicle in place for getting improvement ideas to management, then lobby hard to create one or perhaps you can take the initiative to create one yourself. It will let everyone know how serious you are about quality. Good luck.

    0
    #65926

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    A well rounded education is the best way to prepare for a leadership role such as the BB and MBB. “Hard” skill sets (math, statistics, economics, business courses), as well as “soft” skill sets (psychology, management, etc.) should serve well in developing the ability to see the big picture in everything that you do, as well as the detail. At progressive companies like GE, the Black Belts and Master Black Belts are chosen as future leaders of the business. They are the cream of the crop as far as leading an organization to the highest levels of success. Wherever you can develop your skills as a leader, a change agent, and a results-oriented manager, that’s the avenue you should choose.

    0
    #65910

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Remember that ISO 9000, including both the 1994 and 2000 versions, is non-prescriptive and largely based on compliance to the standard. Six Sigma, on the other hand – as taught at progressive companies like General Electric, Motorola, and Allied Signal, etc – is prescriptive. With its tools, concepts, and roadmaps for process improvement, Six Sigma equips an organization with most of what it needs to succeed. All that is left is brain power and leadership to drive and sustain the quality initiative.

    ISO 9000 does not ensure that systems or processes are running efficiently or effectively. In addition, it does not ensure that processes will provide consistent output that is of value to the customer (product integrity or product performance). Six Sigma, though, is based on delivering consistent and reliable output to the customer through a ‘breakthrough management strategy’ that is designed to shrink or eliminate variation associated with the output.

    The intentions of ISO 9000 are good, and offer a measure of protection to an organization looking to establish and define itself in terms of the standards and procedures they will follow to meet customer needs. But without acquiring a ‘breakthrough management strategy’ to continuously improve business processes, often the impact of being ISO certified means that performance will remain relatively stagnant or get worse over time – i.e. there will be fewer breakthroughs.

    From my experience, and in comparing notes with other organizations, much of the time spent on sustaining ISO 9001 certification is the participation in audits – both internal quality audits and the audits conducted by the registrar. Most, if not all, of these audits represent a small sample of the population being studied, i.e. they are not statistically valid samples. The judgements, conclusions, and observations made during audits are often highly subjective, too, depending on the auditors.

    Most troubling to me, however, is the activity succeeding the audits – the corrective actions in response to nonconformances. Many times the write-ups are merely pointing out that a procedure or work instruction is not being followed in all cases, as required by the standard being imposed. As a result, more time is spent on “retraining the individuals” or re-writing the standard, instead of engaging in Six Sigma improvements (defining the process, assigning ownership, developing metrics and baselines on the process, and seeking to co

    0
    #65911

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Normally you would have to be hired by a Six Sigma company as a Black Belt or Master Black Belt, then go through training on Six Sigma (80-100 hours of instruction), then maybe need to pass a certification exam, then complete 2 projects as a Black Belt, or lead 20 projects as an MBB to get certified.

    ASQ (the American Society for Quality) is currently working on developing a certification program for Black Belts, etc. but it is at the incipient stages of development at this time. Those are the only venues that I am aware of for certification.

    0
    #65756

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I am aware of three different types of champions, depending on the organization’s structure: a senior champion, a deployment champion, and a project champion. The most frequent interaction that a Black Belt has, though, is with a project champion.

    A project champion: should help identify, select, and sanction a BB project, should provide direction to the BB’s project team, be communicated to from the BB as the project progresses, help the BB get through potential stumbling blocks, ensure that proper resources are identified for the BB’s project team, keep the BB mindful of the project’s goal in terms of business objectives, relay the progress and results to the next level of management, and follow up on the project when it is completed or certified.

    In addition, in a larger sense, the project champion should be driven to help the Six Sigma implementation and deployment succeed.

    Hope this helps.

    0
    #65755

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I can’t relay any real case studies, but I would think that one HR process that is important and should be studied is the hiring process and the length of time it takes to hire qualified, top notch applicants. This is perceived by many to be a great bottleneck.

    Where does the hiring process start? Is it when there is a need to hire, or when a requisition is sent to HR? Where does the process end? When the new hire accepts an offer or when the new hire is actually working? …

    I would have loved being assigned this one.

    0
    #65613

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    A colleague of mine offered that ISO 9001 “qualifies us”, and that Six Sigma enables us to “win the game.”

    It has been my experience that how an organization thinks, and approaches quality will determine its success. I’ve seen companies run themselves into the ground with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, CMM, TQM, etc. in the sense that more time is spent auditing, preparing for audits, and correcting deficiencies from the audits, instead of actually getting deeply involved in the processes being used to meet customer needs. In the end, what you may end up with is an organization focused on compliance, or “qualification”, but not on winning the game, winning customers, etc. Auditing is a form of inspection, and we all know what Deming said about inspection.

    Nevertheless, when a company embraces Six Sigma and lays out a roadmap for success, i.e. it defines its quality system, or approach, part of the overall implementation strategy may boil down to: How quickly and easily can we adapt to the Six Sigma approach? For some companies, the cultural change may have to come more gradually, as people realize that Six Sigma is not compliance based, and there are no required internal audits, for which they are accustomed to. The transformation might be better suited to adopt a QMS, based on the framework of Six Sigma, and develop the “qualifying” system before “going for the win.” The new version of ISO 9001:2000 seems to have placed more emphasis on many of the TQM and Six Sigma focuses: customer satisfaction, metrics, and continual improvement.

    My personal opinion is that there has to be a justification from the customer as to what QMS system should be used, or if one should be used at all. Does the customer need the ISO stamp? If so, then perhaps the QMS can be used as a “qualifier” for Six Sigma and also serve as the document and record keeping vehicle. If not, then I would scrap it in favor of Six Sigma as a stand alone.

    Six Sigma is the finest quality system I have come across in my professional life. Why? Because it is designed to improve the bottom line of your company. What could be more important?

    0
    #65610

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    As Sandy mentioned, the starts and stops, and anything that comes between, should be the domain for the process owner. A useful tool for generating discussion on who owns a process is the SIPOC. It stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. More on this later.

    0
    #65609

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    My experience with TQM has been limited largely to the classroom and second hand knowledge, so I cannot attest to the success of TQM being deployed in many service companies. For a good historical reference, try looking up the Florida Power & Light case study.

    Having worked as a quality professional in both service and manufacturing industries, I can assure you that Six Sigma, which is based on many TQM tools and concepts, would bring enormous benefits to a service company, large or small. Because the Six Sigma, and TQM concepts have, historically, been rarely applied in service industries, there is generally much more potential for breakthrough, and even quantum leap, improvements, when compared with manufacturing.

    The difference between the successful companies, who embrace change and use Six Sigma – and the TQM tools and concepts – to improve their performance, and the unsuccessful companies, is the leadership at the top. When the top levels of management understand Six Sigma (or TQM), and what it potentially means to a company’s bottom line, that’s the first step in transforming an organization from a fast follower, or also ran, into a leader.

    The buy-in at the top must be accompanied by active involvement, beginning at the top, to educate and deploy quality. The overriding disciplines for the company must be to maintain a strong customer focus and be process oriented, relentlessly.

    More on this later, but there is so much to be gained from understanding and applying Six Sigma, and TQM, particularly in service industries.

    0
    #65602

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Thanks from me too, Jim, for the above description of Six Sigma.

    I can feel the frustration from those who have been exposed to one quality system after another and don’t see anything new with Six Sigma. The architects of Six Sigma will tell you that the tools and concepts are nothing new, indeed, but that it is the system and ordering that are new, and a question of where the emphasis needs to be in a given situation.

    When I was first introduced to TQM I was exposed to many useful concepts and tools, but there was no order or prescription for defining a problem (and the underlying process), measuring the performance, analyzing the gaps, improving, and controlling. But after having received the training on Six Sigma, passing the Black Belt certification exam and then leading projects, I became a strong believer in Six Sigma.

    What good is quality if it doesn’t improve your bottom line? Six Sigma does not allow quality to become the “flavor of the month” quality initiative. It seeks to find better ways of doing things so that all stakeholders are pleased with the results (customers, shareholders, etc.).

    Yes, Six Sigma has evolved from the work of Deming, Juran, and others into a more prescriptive roadmap on how to do things better, faster, quicker, etc.

    0
    #65601

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    No, I have not seen or heard any bad side of Six Sigma. I read a negative article about it once in Quality Digest magazine, for which I do not subscribe or purchase. The author, in my opinion, had not penetrated deep enough into the subject so I wrote him off as someone simply trying to make a name for himself.

    You get what you put into Six Sigma, and because so many people have bought into Six Sigma, the success stories keep coming.

    0
    #65600

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    GE Financial Assurance has done a very good job of identifying process owners and baselining the entire organization in terms of processes and process owners. As you read in your first reply, the process owner is someone who is directly accountable for the quality performance (success or failure) of the process at hand.

    0
    #65593

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    DFSS is, in essence, the same as the DMADV methodology, and it does have the same wrinkles as the Deming wheel (Plan-Do-Check-Act). All the tools and concepts taught in a DMADV course are very familiar. The beauty of the methodology, though, is where the emphasis goes, and how all the tools, concepts, and phases fit together in a cohesive, logical order.

    The Six Sigma Academy teaches the breakthrough strategy, which is RDMAICSI (Recognize, DMAIC, Standardize, Integrate). Again, this is nothing substantially different than the two DMAIC streams you referred to.

    Use DMADV for a process that is fundamentally broken or has reached its level of entitlement, requiring redesign.

    Use DMAIC for an existing process that is not quite at its level of entitlement, i.e. not quite meeting its targets.

    0
    #65592

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    Statistics are an important piece of Six Sigma, because you have to possess good, sound metrics on the projects you are working on. If you are having difficulty with grasping some of the statistical concepts, seek someone out who can get you the help you need. What is indispensable and difficult to learn is the people skills and change agent skills that are vital toward bringing a project to completion. The average DMAIC project runs anywhere from 2-6 months, with an expectation of $200-250K annual net income savings.

    Progressive companies who value the skills of a successful Black Belt should have bonuses tied to the projects annual savings as well as non-monetary recognition.

    0
    #65591

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    I agree that Gage R&R won’t solve the problems inherent in a vote counting process that is flawed. A Six Sigma vote counting process should be the standard for every state or locality to follow. Perhaps additional funding is not the concern here, but merely that more emphasis needs to be placed on defining a reliable, certifiable, (Six Sigma) vote count.

    0
    #65567

    Patrick Waddick
    Participant

    The press never reported why Florida requires a recount when the vote tally differential is within 0.5%. It must have been an arbitrary threshold, but it begs the question: Should vote counting be based on reliability studies (Gauge R & R) of the various methods of counting votes? I think it should. There should be a known threshold when the election is declared a virtual (statistical) tie and the decision goes to the House of Representatives.

    That would be a huge improvement over all the manual recounting, litigation, and protests.

    0
Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)